I make luminous, romantic paintings of natural places. Human presence is not depicted, but can often be inferred. Using traditional oil painting techniques I work to create a contemporary response to accelerating deterioration in natural systems worldwide and the fundamental human need for connection to the natural world, exploring the colors and forms that are deeply rooted in the human experience of life on earth. The surface is often sanded, scraped and scored, paint is splattered and dripped, and an indication of distress underlies subsequent layers of glazes. This process creates a depth and a mysterious quality that invites contemplation.
Words such as “meditative”, “hypnotic”, and “exquisite” have all been used in describing the paintings. One writer said that they “hum with premonition,” another referred to “jewel-like color” and a pull “between antiquity and Armageddon.” The most recent paintings were created during a period of increasing threats to the work that has been done over the past several decades to help preserve our environment, a time when Armageddon can seem ever closer and premonition is in the air everywhere. Consciously or not, we know that we’re on the wrong path and search for answers.
More than a century and a half ago Thoreau wrote that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” The contemporary poet Wendell Berry reiterates that belief today in saying that “to cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” With a lovely little poem entitled “The Peace of Wild Things” that I keep in the studio, he addresses the importance of the wild to/in our human existence. I think about this while I’m painting. It’s quite simple, and not simple at all, certainly something worth contemplation, perhaps now more than ever.